By Tarek Ramchani
The two-hour first qualifying session at Le Mans turned to be an all Porsche affair. The Audis were behind the cars from Suttgart taking positions four, five and six.
With perfect weather and track conditions, teams and drivers tried to push very hard tonight. Very fast lap times in all four classes have been set. The session was red flagged at the hour one mark following some incidents including two involving Audi cars.
The #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas set the quickest time in the session. An impressive 3:16.887 and a new track record at the Circuit de La Sarthe. Second place went to the #17 Porsche ahead of the sister #19 car.
The Audis set competitive lap times but not enough to challenge the Porsches. Best ranked R18 e-tron quattro was the #8 car with Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis in fourth place overall and a best time of 3:19.297.
Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and René Rast were fifth fastest behind the wheel of the #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The three drivers set a best time of 3:21.081. A the halfway mark, René Rast had a spin.
André Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer and Marcel Fassler were sixtth with their #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The three-time Le Mans winners set a best time of 3:21.839. The car had a spin with Benoit Treluyer behind the wheel at the first chicane.
As was the case in the practice session, Toyota was behind the two German brands. The #2 TS040 Hybrid was seventh and the #1 Toyota was eighth.
Action will resume tomorrow at Le Mans with two further qualiying sessions. The first session will be held between 19:00 and 21:00, the second one between 22:00 and 00:00 CET.